onsdag 4. desember 2013

Stavanger 12-13 Oktober

That which does not kill us makes us stronger. - Friedrich Nietzsche

After a good pre-summer, we've had a few bad competitions this autumn. And honestly, I can not say it's improving either.
Our third last competition of the season, was in Stavanger on 12th-13th Oktober with the german judge Stefanie Semkat.
She arrived thursday afternoon and got to spend the entire evening relaxing and preparing for the competition at the hotel. On friday I took her to the beach for a walk with Quick (her Papillon) and my own dogs.
Competition started early on saturday with the jumping competitions. My first run for the day was jumping 1 with Niili.

It was a really cool run and Niili was following me good during the entire run. Of course, we can still work alot on the weaves and the winter will be used to train this with the help of Susan Garrett and her "2x2 Weave Pole Training DVD". You can find the DVD on this link, and yes, she send them international.
When I look at the run and the fact that we spent 6,31seconds in the weaves and some wide turns, it warm my heart when I see that we still had a speed of 4,36m/s in the run. It just shows me that we did a good thing for us when we moved on to grade 2 after this run. Now it will be fun to see how Niili will be able to compete with Leija on the same courses. Will she be able to match Leija's speed or will she go further?
Second run for the day was the jumping 2 with Leija. Even with our mistakes in the weaves, which I'm really starting to dislike, we managed to get a win. It wasn't that difficult, seeing that we were only two competitors in grade 2 small, but I would've preferred a clean run to grade 3.
Speed was good for Leija in the beginning, but I have started to see a trend in both myself and Leija, where I bend my back too much in turns, causing Leija to get the wrong directions from me and generally starting to lose speed when I do this. Hopefully this is something I can spend the winter on fixing, but when I get it sorted, she will be even faster than before.
This run showed me exactly how much time and speed we lose by not managing good weave-entrance and having to go back to fix weaves in a run. We lost approx 10.85sec on our "little" mistake there, and it turned us into a 3,79m/s run instead of a 4,83m/s run, when I deduct the time lost in weaves from the total time. However, when I look at the run by itself, if I get the turns tighter, accelaration back to normal and I straighten my back, I can see no problem in us managing a run speed of somewhere around 5,2-5,4m/s.
The third and last official run of the day was the team run with Leija. This was a agility course, where again we face the problem with the weaves. I don't have a video of this run, but I have the course below.
During this run everything was running smoothly until the weaves. One of the challenges that we see more and more in all grades now, is both sided weaves, meaning that you as a handler can be on both sides of the weaves, but higher the grade, the more frequent you go on the "wrong" side of the dog. Because of this, I need to be comfortable with doing this. In this run, I tried, but failed miserably.
Last run of the day; open jumping. It was a super fun way of finishing the day for both the dog and handler. Alot of people had fast runs, and of course we had a weave fault... We lost 9,60sec in that incident, and I lose all my motivation in the run.
I also did the same course with Niili, which was alot of running and not alot of control. But we both had super much fun in the course, so for us it was a success.
Thoughts after saturday;
After a gruelling day at the courses, we had a very relaxing and great dinner out on a restaurant, and we even managed to get a picture of all the ladies I entertained. the servers must have thought I was engaged in polygami, with all the wives.
So, Sunday was coming up:
Started the day with Jump 2 with both dogs. After a good first day with Niili, I decided to take her up to grade 2 in jumping, just because there is no point staying in grade 1 when we nail it and it's also easier for logistics on competitions with multiple rings.
Basically story of the day was alot of weave faults and not very good runs. I don't have any movies from this day, but the courses can be seen below:

I know it's a good time since last blog, but we just needed to get everything on a arms length.
Tommy & Leija

fredag 4. oktober 2013

Karmøy - 28-29 September 2013

Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. - Thomas A. Edison

This weekend it was Karmøy who was the host for the last competition in September. Karmøy is located almost as far west in Norway as you can.

Since the competition started at 10.00am on saturday, both Elisabeth and me decided that we could drive up on saturday morning. We started at 07.00am and arrived at the location at 09.15, after a nice ferry ride and a stop at a food store for some breakfast.

First run of the day for me, was the Agility 2 small course. It was a good course, with a few challenges that I liked and lines that I tried hard to hit. In my eyes it could possibly be a bit harder, but that's just my opinion. Leija jumps the last few weaves which gives us a fault and I spend alot of time going back. After the fault, I clearly see my motivation drop and I focus less on everything. Whenever I get a fault, I can see myself holding the contacts longer, forcing Leija to stay and this automatically gives me a slower time than I normally would get.

Second course for us this day, was the team course which I ran with Leija. Seeing that I haven't started agility with Niili, it's mostly Leija who does agility and teams, as teams have to be agility courses in Norway to be valid in national championship qualifiers.

Leija takes the start really good, but a wrong position from me fucks everything up. I lose my own focus because I have to adjust my timing and position to follow up Leija correctly. It looks like I manage to do this, but then I screw it up down from dogwalk, giving Leija a chance to choose her own tunnell entrance. Result of this, DQ.

Course number three was Jump 1 with Niili. I liked the course very much, as it gave us both good speed, but I could not let go of my focus with Niili. Lose focus for 1 second with these two dogs and they run a totally different course or line that you had planned. Seeing that we are still learning the flat tunnel, I don't go back to fix the denial on that obstacle, giving us a refusal with a follow up DQ.

Last course of the day was Jump 2 with Leija, and what a course it was! Leija runs like the wind.. She can be even faster!!! I give some slowness to the high grass, but still!!! And then I drop my focus for a milli-second!!!! Result: DQ!!

My thoughts of the day::
After a good and relaxing evening with Lene Cecilie Olsen & Einar Fossum, I was ready for a new day, hopefully without frustrating handler mistakes, like the jumping course on saturday.

First course of the day was Jump 1 with Niili. It was a course with some luck for my part. Niili had several "near-drop" bars during the run and I was pretty happy when I found out that it was a clean run. I blame the tall grass. I see that I can run even faster with Niili during these courses, as she is almost as fast as Leija. Weaves need a lot more work, but even with the slow weave during this run, she still ran 3,76m/s!!!

Second course was Jump 2 with Leija. For me it was a cool course, and it was my own fault she jumps back on the obstacle before the weaves. I need to learn to give Leija more space, but we also need to train more on the "in-between" obstacle. Result; DQ

Last course of the day was agility 2 with Leija. For the second time in all of our competition career, she dropped a bar :O. It was a good course, but like I've said previously; when we get a fault, I spend extra time on the contacts to make sure it's done correctly.

However, with that being said, I think it was a good run. I have some work to do on the turning, but it is a work in progress. After the A-frame, I lost Leija for a split second and she chose the "wrong" tunnel entrance. Luckily it was optional, but I still lost my "handling", which ended in a weird finish of the run. Result; 1st Place, 5 fault, 3.4m/s.

T-t-t-t-that's all folk's.. Next competition for us is Stavanger 12-13 October, with Stefanie Semkat from Germany as judge. I'm really looking forward to that competition, as Stefanie claims that I will run my ass of on her courses...

Tommy, Leija & Niili

tirsdag 1. oktober 2013

Arendal - 21-22 September 2013

If the facts don't fit the theory, change the facts. - Albert Einstein

Theory; A dog is supposed to pick up obstacles whenever you show them where to go!
Fact; If a handler don't show the correct handling, the dog will run on the outside.

Theory; When you train your dog, there is results in competitions!
Fact; Unless you show your dog the correct lines, the results will not come.

We spent last weekend at Hove Leirsenter in Arendal, on their annual fall-competition. As always, it was a great competition, socially and the location is great. Results could be a lot better, but then again; we can't always be winners.

Started waaaaaay to early for my part, as I woke up at 05.10am and didn't have the first course walk until 09.08am. I spent the better part of the morning walking the dogs, eating breakfast and generally relaxing.. It was unusual to have such good time before a competition.

First course for me was Jump 1 with Niili. The course had the flat tunnell in it, and Niili does not know that obstacle 100% yet. Result of this was of course the DQ.

Second course was Jump 2 with Leija. I believe that I had a good idea for the start, as most of the other handlers chose to break the dog between #2 and #3 on the top of #2. However, I used my body the wrong way and it gave Leija the possibility to have a WIIIIIDE turn. And when she "refuses" to pick up a obstacle, my enthusiasm drops like a fly meeting a zapper, causing a DQ.

Third course of the day was Agility 2, again with Leija. The course itself was super cool and I would've loved to actually finish it, but Leija somehow wanted it different. She jumped the downward contact on dog-walk, made a refusal in to the weaves and skipped the last two/three weaves. Result: DQ

Last run of the saturday was the team run. It was a great run. Leija follows me good, takes the contacts and generally pays attention. Unfortunately she gets a refusal on the zee-zaw and completely disregards the flat-tunnel. Result: DQ

That was the saturday. My thoughts for the day;
Started sunday with a Jump 1 course with Niili. It was a fast course, that was going perfectly until the wheel, where I pushed too hard and made her have a refusal. As I do the runs with Niili just for fun at the moment, I didn't focus too much on picking it up correctly after the refusal, so we get a DQ. But it was a FUN course.

Second course was Jump 2 with Leija. Here I was hoping for a fast course with alot of running for both myself and Leija. It was really a course for both of us. Unfortunately for us, Leija decides to refuse to pick-up obstacles, giving us two refusals before I decide to just DQ her. I will not focus on anything positive in this course, as it was a total disaster.

Last course for us this day, was the Agility 2 course. This was once again a fast course, and a course I really liked at most of the part. Distances could be a bit small for a faster dog, but we managed. I really need to start looking more at my dog when I do unfamiliar switches. Because of this, I get a refusal on the dog walk, but we manage to finish the course. This gives us a 3rd place, but a rather slow pace.

That's all from the Arendal competition. Our next trial now, is Karmøy next weekend. It's going to be interesting to see what will happen.

Tommy, Leija & Niili

fredag 20. september 2013

The Formula For Success

The difference between a successful person and others is not a lack of strength, not a lack of knowledge, but rather a lack of will. - Vince Lombardi

What is the formula for success? Sometimes people will ask you; "What have you done to get where you are today?". Is success a mindset or a journey? Or how do one define success?

It's difficult to put a definition on success. I would say it's easier to define a journey, but can't you say success is a journey as well?
In my mind, the entire concept of success is a journey. There is no specific finish line when I think of success, as it is a matter of goals. You set your goals and then if you reach them, you have success.

How can a person keep having a success if you set only one goal?

I would think the best way to do this, is to break down the word itself; SUCCESS:
So, lets try and hopefully I can shed some light on my understanding of success.
See Your Goal:
In all training you do, there is always one or more goals that you want to reach. One of the first things to remember when setting a goal, is to be smart about it. Set goals that are S.M.A.R.T:
There is no point in setting goals that are unrealistic both in achievement and time. Get a full understanding of what your goal is, and work towards it systematically.
Understand The Obstacles:
How one person see a challenge or a problem, is most of the time different from what other people see. For example, when people look at my running, they might say that I need to focus on tighter turns, better control and maybe decrease the speed to ease my handling to make control easier.
But I see different obstacles; How can I get control without losing speed? Do I want to sacrifice the speed in a turn for tighter turns?
My point is that some challenges can be the same, but people's perception of it might be totally different.
Wouldn't it be nice if every situation that was difficult, came with a warning? Or that dogs were sold with a big notification that it might be hard?
Create A Positive Mental Picture:
The first or most important thing when you want to do something, anything really, is to say: Yes, I can do this!
There is no point in doing alot of work on something you deep down don't believe will work in the end. Once you get you mind and focus on the positive things, everything seems brighter.
Clear Your Mind Of Self Doubt:
Like I mention above, there is no point in setting goals when you deep down don't believe you can reach them yourself.
 Are you good enough? If you always question yourself and never try, you never just go for it, how will you know? The worst that can happen, is that you find out that you need more practise.
Embrace The Challenge:
Is it difficult? Do you find elements that is challenging? Is the course not the way you are used to handling? BRING IT ON!!! - is my motto there.... I will do my best to work with it. If I fail, I fail. Then I have something I can strive to finish.
Stay On Track:
Remember your goals!! That is the most important thing on this point, in my eyes, just keep remembering your goals.
As long as you keep to this, you will stay on track towards success.
Show The World You Can Do It:
When you get it to work, people will start to notice you. You will succeed in courses, your training method will start to pay off and people will respect your journey.
This was my thoughts on the formula on success.. So who knows, maybe it will work for you, maybe it won't. But what have you got to lose?
Tommy, Leija & Niili

onsdag 11. september 2013

Nordhordland Competition = 31aug - 01sep 2013 =

Flying is learning how to throw yourself at the ground and miss. - Douglas Adams

After a great summer holiday with a lot of new impressions, a relative understanding of the concept of balance and a expectation on doing some good agility, we had signed up for the competition in Nordhordland with the judge Jan Egil Eide.

Since I still had some vacation before getting back to work, I started the trip to Bergen early friday afternoon and arrived in Os at Simon and Dorte around 17.00. Luckily I wasn't going any further, as there had been a major accident in downtown Bergen, causing big traffic jam.

On saturday morning I started with A2 and had a great course walk, my only problem was that I was trying to incorporate things I don't master yet, which ended badly for my part.

My expectations for the weekend felt like something crashing, kind of like this:
I haven't talked a lot about my goals, but I've mentioned my ultimate goal of having fun. However, when you do something, anything actually, you always want to do your best.
My goals is something we can come to on a later time, but what's important to know now, is that I did not live up to my expectations on the runs this weekend. I will be the first to admit that my thoughts can get in the way of everything sometimes, and this can be both positive and negative.
Story of the weekend was in general just like a movie title:
Tommy trying stuff he doesn't know!
Anyways, let's get on with the courses.
This was a super cool course to run, that demands focus during the entire course, otherwise the dog runs off doing other things ;)

It all went super good until obstacle 11, where I wanted to try wrong-sided weaves. It gives me a fault in there and we just continued. This gives us a DQ in this run. Results are below;
Unfortunately I don't have anything more of a video from this run, than the small session below. This is what comes of trying to give a simple job to someone from Bergen ;) hehe....

Second run of the day was Jumping. It was a fun filled action course, which demanded 100% focus on every turn. Unfortunately I did not manage this. My timing was not up to par, turning was crap and directions for the dog was not present. As a result of my poor handling, Leija actually refuses a tunnel and jumps over the long jump. Luckily she wasn't injured, as the long jump had the #5 bar standing in the course as well. Ah well, a DQ written down on this one as well:
Video of this run is also below, and as you've understood; people from Bergen have a tendency to talk during filming ;)
Video link below:

As always, it seems my Youtube does not want to cooperate with my blogspot, so I have to put the links to youtube only.
This was a super fun course. Even though my head weren't on it's place, we had fun none the less.. Leija closed her ears from obstacles 2->3 and had a wide turn. My body posture was all out of place, and I started her in the wrong place. Still, Leija had a great speed and we came back from the tunnell and took #4 without problem. But then Leija somehow decided on going on the outside of #5 and jumped the long jump the wrong way, giving us the DQ.
I am super happy with the speed of the weaves, we had a good turn on #8 -> #9, even if I slipped because of my bad body-balance.
Third and last run of the day was the open jump course. Here we atleast managed to get a finish, even though we had a refusal, we finished with good speed and okey handling.
Movie of the can be seen at the link below:
If I look at the course compared to my handling, I see a few timing mistakes and I could also improve the turning during the course. My biggest point, however, is that I seem to be a bit slow in my running. Leija has a speed, with the refusal, at 4,40 m/s. Could I maybe become faster if I run faster, or do I loose control?
Well, let's move into Sunday.
Sunday started with alot of confusion and loss of focus for my part. During our trip to the competition, Simon and me drove past a accident which happened to be a contestant that we knew. The entire car was destroyed, but luckily both her and her dogs was okey. Someone had a guardian angel in that crash....
When we arrived, the course walk for grade 2 agility had already started, but the judge was so nice that he gave us some extra time to walk it. Unfortunately I couldn't manage to reset my mindset and it was a "half-ass" effort by myself.

Course was a SUPER FUN course. It should have been easy.. Should have!! - That is one of the most annoying comments I ever make. "I should have" is always the start of something bad for me, but then again; I should have been on the other side.
I decided to start on the "upper-side" of #2, and was even touching Leija on the nose to prevent her from going on to dogwalk and follow me in to #3, but she was very clear in her act on how she felt about that...
That's right... That is exactly what I felt Leija did when we had that run... And people could understand my frustration, atleast I think they did, because I heard alot of people laughing when it happened :) Atleast I make for good entertainment :)

Luckily I didn't get this course on film.

The second run for me was the Grade 1 debut with Niili. I had no expectations what so ever, and my entire goal for the debut was just to check how she would react in a competition setting.

However, she actually went above and beyond any expectations and won her class. Granted, she was the only dog that managed to complete the course, but that shows me that she was better than all the rest :)
Video link below:

The result of this run was the biggest point of happiness for me this weekend, as it showed me that Niili might have a great future in the agility ring :)
Jumping grade 2, the last for me and Leija this weekend, ended as the rest of the weekend. With a devastating DQ because of Tommy trying things he doesn't know.
Video link below:
But then again, how can one improve without trying new things???
So, all in all, a lot of new things that needs focus and some things that need to be practised. How do we do that? WE TRY NEW THINGS!!!
Tune in for the next post competition post, showing Tommy doing things he doesn't know!
Tommy & Leija